You want to get into reading but which books are good to start with? What fits your taste? Well, this is your lucky day! I have started a series of articles where I introduce you guys to all the things that are good to know if you want to get into reading. I have post on how to read more, a guide to the online book community and I have now started introducing you to different genres and which books I think are good to start with within each. These are all be books that I personally really love but I will show you books for every taste. The first two articles were about fantasy and contemporary. Today I am going to talk about historical fiction.
I haven’t read tons of historical fiction book, but I always end up loving the ones I pick up. I enjoy how you learn more about a historical time while still experiencing a fictional story. Many books in this genre are pretty heavy to read, but I also have some lighter recommendations for you today. Like I did with my contemporary recommendations I will rank the books from easiest read to the hardest one.
Maus I & II by Art Spiegelman
My rating: 4/5 stars
Maus is a comic book duology, which follows our two polish jews under World War II. The jews are pictured as mice and the nazis as cats. This book is very famous for dealing with such a difficult topic in comic book form. I think the pictures fit the story really nicely. I didn’t know much about Poland’s situation under the war and I definitely learned more about it from reading this. Due to the format, this book is really easy to read and I flew through it. I therefore think it is the perfect place to start, if you are a new reader!
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
My rating: 4.5/5 stars
This book is told from a 9-year-old boy’s perspective in Germany under World War II. Due to the young narrator the book has a really easy language, which makes it very easy to read. I went into this book completely blind and I recommend doing it that way, so I won’t tell you anymore details about the plot.
You should, however, be aware of the fact that it is a terrible story though. It’s is widely known for it’s movie, and I think it is important to say that it is easier to read than watch. In the book everything is told through a 9-year-old boy’s perspective. He doesn’t understand everything that is going on and you therefore have a certain distance to it. In the movie, on the other hand, everything is thrown in your face and it is truly terrible to watch. This book will mess with your feelings and wreck your heart but it’s totally worth it. It is a very short book and you can read it really quickly.
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
My rating: 5/5 stars
The Help is set in 1962, Mississippi and deals a lot around the inequality between the black and white population at that time. This book follows 22-year-old Skeeter, who has big dreams for the future but is held back by her mother’s wish for her to get married. We also have Aibileen, a black maid who is raising her 17th child, while dealing with the trauma after her own son’s death. Lastly we have Minny, Aibileen’s friend, a small, fat, sassy woman, who is well known for her incredibly cooking skills. All three women wishes to change the way women view one another and when they meet it becomes possible.
This is an indredible story and I grew to love all three of the main characters so much. It also made me realize how bad the situation had been for the black population at that time in the US. This is a big book, but it catches your attention quickly and it is pretty easy to come through.
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
My rating: 4/5 stars
This book is also set in Southern America in the 1960’s. It follows the two children Scout and Jem and their father, Atticus. They live in a very small town and when a Atticus, who works as a lawyer, decides to take a case defending a black man the whole town is in shock. This book deals a lot around the rights of black and the towns view on Atticus after taking a black’s case. It is told in a completely different way than The Help and I got a lot out of reading them both. This book is slow going, and it took me some time before I really was invested in this story, but I did end up really loving it and I still find myself thinking about it sometimes. I highly recommend it!
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
My rating: 5/5 stars
This book follows the girl Liesel Meminger, and her foster family in Germany under World War II. Liesel has a big desire to read and starts stealing books and reading them with her foster dad. This book is filled with the sweetest characters, whom you grow very to attached to. It shows the germans life under the war and a jew also comes into play later on in the story. The very special thing about this book is that it is told from Death’s perspective, which I found to work really nicely for the story. This is by far my favorite book on this list, but it is also mentioned last, because it is a very slow book and it can be hard to get into, so you need to take your time reading this one.
That was all my historical fiction recommendations! Let me know below if you have read any of these or if this post has made you interested in doing so. I would love to know!